Smoking Out the Myths About Marijuana
Marijuana is a highly debated topic. The perception that marijuana is harmful has been greatly reduced, especially among youth. Media coverage and legalization of retail marijuana and marijuana used for medical purposes in certain states has contributed to this view that marijuana use is “safe.” FCSAC (Fayette County Substance Abuse Coalition) is working to educate youth and the community on marijuana and to spark conversations about healthy decision-making.
Marijuana today is not the same marijuana that was around in the 60’s and 70’s. Today’s marijuana contains much higher levels of THC, the chemical component that makes people “feel high.” But this high does not come risk-free. According to the American Psychological Society, heavy marijuana use in adolescence and early adulthood is linked to “poor school performance, higher dropout rates, increased welfare dependence, greater unemployment, and lower life satisfaction.”
Adolescence is a critical period of brain development. Many studies show the negative impact marijuana use has on the developing brain. Regular use (more than once a week) actually changes the structure of the brain and impacts critical areas, such as those dealing with memory and problem-solving. A 25 year study, done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also shows that using marijuana at a young age can lead to an average loss of 8 IQ points. This means a person could go from having superior intelligence to average, or from average intelligence to low intelligence.
It is important to educate youth on what marijuana does to their brain and health along with the social and legal implications. On a survey taken in 2014, 38% of Fayette County 11th graders believed there was only slight to no risk of harm to themselves if they smoked marijuana regularly. 46% also said it would be easy or very easy to obtain marijuana.
To respond to this issue, FCSAC is working on raising the perception of harm of marijuana in Fayette County. Doing education activities such as school presentations, assemblies, and bringing experts in to talk to youth and the community about marijuana. We are hoping to "smoke out the myths" of this particular drug.
With the increasing demand of marijuana and new laws implemented, Marijuana edibles have been introduced across the nation. Marijuana edibles can take any shape or form and usually resemble popular sweets consumed by all ages. These edible resemble sweets like brownies, mints, gummies, cakes, cereals, bars, ice cream, chocolates and so much more. To learn more about these edibles and their effects visit https://drugabuse.com/joints-vs-edibles-how-marijuana-effects-the-body/ and https://www.justthinktwice.gov/article/drug-alert-marijuana-edibles .